What I am looking for in the Ethics Alarms comments is constructive, literate expositions on opinions and conclusions regarding the ethics-related issues raised here. Regular commenters who have proven their seriousness and genuine interest in the topic have leave to leave the periodic facetious or non-substantive posts, but the conduct of lesser and inevitable short-tenured commenters whose technique consists of “no it isn’t” assertions without proffers of evidence, new information or fresh analysis, pollute the site and defeat its mission.
Recently I had to ban two practitioners of this dark art who were tirelessly pushing the progressive narrative that Tucker Carlson had proven himself to be a racist during his late Fox News show. I asked a simple question: What’s an example of this alleged racism? One answered—after calling Carlson racist!—that the word couldn’t be defined; the other said that the conclusion was justified by nothing in particular, just “deductive reasoning.” Baseball analyst Bill James once wrote that when someone says something is true because they just know it is, that’s a bullshit alarm. Those commenters were eventually banned for other misconduct, but flinging bullshit around the place is not going to be tolerated.
In contrast, we have the following Comment of the Day by Jim Hodgson, as he offers actual evidence of how the current values rot in our education system can be countered, and has been, at least in his community. Here it is, in response to the post, “Today’s Kentucky Derby Metaphor: Journalists May Be The Enemies Of Our Democracy, But Teachers Are Coming Up On The Inside Rail….”
Although I am helping homeschool my two grandsons, I am still confident that our local (county) school system is substantially “woke free,” for several reasons. One reason is our community values which are overwhelmingly conservative to moderate with only a smattering of loonies from our local (church affiliated) university and a few legacy Democrats. The second reason is aware and involved parents, grandparents and other taxpayers who keep the school board accountable. School board meetings are always packed, even when there is not a hint of controversy in the air. There are also a lot of parent and grandparent volunteers in our schools who keep up with everything that is going on in the classrooms.
The third reason relates to funding. In my state, unlike many others, the schools have no independent taxing authority. School funding comes from both state government and county government, but even the state money flows through our county legislative body, which has authority over the budgets of all county departments including our schools. The school board regularly gripes about this oversight but it helps keep them in check. Once the school budget is passed, the school board manages it, but our budgeting procedures make it very hard to spend money on Y when it was allocated for X, without going through a formal and public budget amendment process. This process can seem cumbersome at times but keeps everyone honest about how tax dollars are being spent. The power of the purse shouldn’t be overlooked for keeping a check on the spread of evil woke ideology.
18 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Today’s Kentucky Derby Metaphor: Journalists May Be The Enemies Of Our Democracy, But Teachers Are Coming Up On The Inside Rail….””
As I expected, the two banned commenters couldn’t resist trying to get the last word in, and unfortunately, those who responded to them saw their replies vanish when I sent them to spam hell. Sorry.
And think about how crazy these types are: they managed to get themselves banned regarding a post taking the position that Carlson’s tweet had created an unacceptable risk that he might make a genuinely racially biased statement on the air. As committed “Destroy Al Conservatives” types, they had to argue that Carlson already had proven himself to be a racist, you know, just like Trump (who also has never provided evidence of racism). How long am I supposed to allow these one-way ideologues to derail reasonable discourse here? I think I gave them a lot of rope.
It is interesting to me that to have a debate with leftists, it always has to happen by trying to understand their point of view, but they never feel the need to return the favor. All debates start from the point of view that there is no other point of view worth having. I understand the occasional state of mind that leads to such a point of view. When that state of mind becomes constant, however, that becomes extremely troubling. One must consider why such a state of mind has come to pass. My current hypothesis is that cancel culture is the source. Everyone has seen the instances where a leftist media figure or politician has stopped to consider the reasons why people might disagree with the leftwing doctrine and been instantly excommunicated as a right wing traitor. Any hint of empathy with a disagreeing party is taken as an act of war.
10 years ago, I did not have trouble engaging people of different political beliefs in debate in a friendly matter. I did so regularly, mostly as a congenial form of entertainment. People in the past were capable of enjoying discussions, debate and disagreement as mental excercises. Fast forward to the present and that is no longer true. Any debate or conversation has to be conducted by navigating a metaphorical mine field, steering around sacred cows and leftwing blasphemies. There are entire swaths of topics that cannot even be broached without setting off a cognitive dissonance bomb that ends not only the conversation but most likely the entire relationship.
Leftists feel no obligation whatsoever to navigate such a mine field. They will open up conversations with rabidly offensive statements without the slightest concern that someone might be offended. There is no empathy in their perspectives whatsoever.
Simply the expectation that their opinions will be lauded and celebrated. Even in mixed groups where such an assumption is ludicrous.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.
I have similar thoughts. In time of weakness, I simply chalk them up to an old man’s lament (i.e., when times were better), but I know it’s more profound.
Take a walk down memory’s lane as the 10-year anniversary of this incident approaches.
I have a semi-relevant request. Does WordPress allow for comments that have been posted by the soon-to-be banned remain visible while also blocking further posts & potential Replies while also leaving those Replies visible?
I don’t know if the newer commentariat are just a few people who all think exactly alike; if not, it could help those new to the blog see examples of what doesn’t work.
A regular recently posted that it takes just a couple of sentences of complete falsehoods that take ten minutes for someone to respond and explain the fallacies being promoted. I agree that sometimes it’s just not worth the effort to try.
For those that are easily tripped into believing without proof, examples may help them.
My practice varies. Often the comment that triggers a banning is left up, with my reply announcing the ban. Whe I have issued a warning and the response directly defies it, I delete the text and substitute my banning notice. Self-bannings are always left up.
If there’s a way to take down a comment without the replies to it going down too, I haven’t figured it out, and I can’t allow a banned commenter to keep posting; moreover, leaving up replies to a comment that was unauthorized legitimizes the comment.
The thing that frustrates me the most is the – and I don’t know how to word this succinctly – taking a line of reasoning from a simple issue to an extreme one to make his/her point. Specifically, the piece you published last week on the homeless man stealing food from Whole Foods. I wrote “stealing is always unethical and it’s always illegal”. The response – from one recently banned – was to take that example and apply it to 1) is must be illegal to steal my gun if I say I’m going to shoot someone and then – when I addressed that – to 2) it must be illegal to steal a gun from someone going to shoot children in a school. I tried to bring it back to the original issue, but the conversation ended there.
I don’t know what this tactic is, but in my mind it’s ridiculous. I think the discussion centered around this sort of this “Robin Hood” type theft – the notion of committing a petty crime for noble causes. I couldn’t tell if the person just wanted to argue or was trying to obliquely contend that “stealing from Whole Foods was neither unethical nor illegal.”
Anyways, I like to debate things back and forth, but that aspect is silly.
I’m sorry, but my response to you in this thread must have been captured by WordPress. I actually tried posting twice, so if it’s possible to release one of them, I would appreciate it. Thanks so much in advance.
Got it, and it’s up.
For the record, the hill the exiled chose to die on was Tucker’s alleged claim that whites “invented” civilization. That is a highly arguable assertion, but not entirely fanciful: many sources trace the oldest civilization to Mesopotamia, which was “white.” Others use “civilization” to mean “Western civilization.” In any case, the claim itself is no more racist than claiming the Chinese “created” the first civilization, or the Mayans, or visitors from the stars. Someone had to be first, and opining that any race or region was first is not proof of racist, bigotry, or even necessarily bias.
Incidentally, I can’t find the source of the supposed Carlson quote—I’m just assuming arguendo that it exists.
I think the only way to combat the current totalitarian nature of the federal government and reduce the likelihood of civil war is through policies of extreme localization such as what Jim describes. So long as one group gets to dictate to another group what their culture has to be, conflict will escalate. Culture cannot be imposed from above. Trying to do so will lead to nothing but chaos and violence.
I hope you are right that your local school district is sane. In Rock Springs, WY, there is a fun little controversy, and while Rock Springs is not the most conservative locale in Wyoming, it is a conservative community in a conservative state. It’s not Laramie, Cheyenne, or Jackson by any means.
A middle school girl, daughter of an elementary school teacher, was as encouraged to think she was a boy rather than a girl. She had a male name in class, and was convinced to try the whole transgender trick, all without anyone telling her parents. She decided after a while that she was not, actually, a boy, but the teachers denied that she could change her mind and she was sent to a few counselors at the school who tried to convince her that she was a boy. They didn’t manage to do that, but they did manage to convince her that her parents were not on her side. She still thinks she is a girl, the teachers treat her like a boy, and now she has no relationship with her parents.
Parent-Teacher conferences came up and her mom, who had missed the previous set because of the elementary school’s schedule, went to her daughter’s class and asked to talk about her daughter. The teacher had no idea who the mom meant and denied that such a person was in her class. The mom knew otherwise because she had seen all the homework the teacher had sent home. This led to a loud discussion. Another teacher overheard the conversation and said, oh, that’s the dead name of so-and-so, and this is his mom. The mom then learned the whole story and is now suing the school district, the school, the teachers, the councilors, etc. It is a big deal and the newspapers are trying to hide it. Of course, small town Wyoming means that we all hear the details anyway.
I hope yours is still sane. We have lost confidence when Rock Springs fell. I homeschool anyway and plan to not do anything but until or unless major changes are made.
Sara, why hasn’t the parent transferred her kid out of that school system? If that happened to anyone where my kid is, he wouldn’t attend there anymore. I live in a conservative area too (although no longer a conservative state) but the kids informed me there are litter boxes in some of the schools restrooms where they go to compete. Sometimes you just have to say no, even when it’s hard and inconvenient. We need to protect our kids from being coerced and pulled into what seems like an insane cult, or perhaps it’s a social contagion similar to the Salem witch hunts. Regardless, it’s not ok. Not for the kids, not for the schools, parents or a functioning society. Say no. In absolute terms. That’s all that needs to be done. This is child abuse by the teachers. Trying to force a child to be something they’re not and isolating them to make them vulnerable.
I’m not certain what the family is doing. I know more about the lawsuit because that one went through the community loudly.
Given that the only options for them would be for the mom to quit teaching and homeschool, leave her in school, or move to another town, I assume they probably are homeschooling. Of course Green River is close enough to Rock Springs that moving is feasible, unlike just about any other community in Wyoming. This pull your kids out of the school district thing doesn’t work well for rural communities where one school district and usually three total school buildings handle most of a county’s kids.
While I never bought into the “all politics is local” cliche, in recent years I have decided that, for most of the issues that affect me personally, day after day, local and state politics are of more immediate and consistent importance in my life. Involvement in county and state politics allow a much more direct influence on those issues than writing my U. S. Representative or Senator.
I got to know a lot of people in my county while working in a number of political campaigns over the last thirty-five years, starting with getting to know my neighbors. This is not about me personally, but about our informal coalition of active citizens who agree on basic tenants of governance. Many but certainly not all are members of our county Republican party. A good portion are Independents or claim no particular affiliation other than a shared concern about an issue or set of issues at hand. Our county commissioners, county mayor, school board members, most of our other elected county officials, and my state legislators all know us (many of us on a first-name basis), and we communicate with them regularly on a range of issues. I just had a conversation Friday with our mayor about an issue in the upcoming county budget. We frequently urge state legislators and our governor to utilize the authority they have and not wait on the federal government to come in and really foul things up -as they inevitably do.
While I still follow national politics and affiliate with advocacy groups on national political issues, I believe the bulk of my personal time and energy are better spent here in my county and in my state, with my friends, neighbors and compatriots.